Thursday, July 21, 2011

Filing Freedom

I've scoped out a parking spot. Right beside my desk actually. We'll have to move a huge filing cabinet and find space for some of the other stuff stacked against it, but everyone is willing. Yep, I'm going to have the ulitmate disability office, it'll come with a disabled parking bay a couple of feet from my desk chair. I'm a man with wheels. I've got two manual chairs, two scooters and one power wheelchair. I know that seems greedy but people keep giving me these things. I have one scooter here for when the power chair breaks down, as it has once or twice. The other I'm going to take to the office and park it there.

Once in my office, I'm kind of stuck there. Sometimes folks go out to grab a coffee or a bite to eat. I don't go, in my manual chair, everything is just to far away to get to. But, with a scooter, I'll be able to increase my sociability in the office. I tend to go to my office and stay in it, except to go to the washroom, for the whole day. As the washroom is right by my office, often people never see me, many express surprise when they see me out getting ready to go home. "Oh, you were here?" they say, startled.

With my mobility increased, I can even imagine zipping around more and saying 'hey'.

I'm so lucky. The whole building was designed with accessibility in mind, it's wonderfully adapted to people with varying mobility needs. When I suggested a disabled parking space beside my desk there was an immediate 'can do' attitude and we've planned out how to get it all done. My co workers all get that accessibility is a right, not a gift, but even so, because it isn't a right for all, it seems like a gift to me.

We shouldn't, as disabled people, have to depend on luck or good will, nor should we be required to feel gratefull to have what others take for granted. Even so. I feel both lucky and grateful. Probably because I'm mindful of the fact that what I experience here, in terms of acceptance (and no, I'm not the only person with a disability who works for the organization) is still unusual. People with disabilities, the world over, the country over, throughout the city of Toronto, are still fighting for accessibility, both in the real world and in the attitudinal world.

One day I want to have what I experience to be a universal experience. An experience of systemic welcome. A sense of belonging that doesn't differ from anyone else's experience of belonging. When I notice the feeling of belonging, I live in a world where we still don't belong. If that makes sense.

But for now...

I'm getting a parking space beside my desk. Soon my scooter will sit there. Soon my experience of my working world with change. I wish, just really wish, that we could simply move prejudice to the side as easily as we do a filing cabinet. It is that easy to change the world. Really, that easy. But the problem is, the issue isn't the filing cabinet, it will go where it's told, it's finding people, like I have, that are willing to move it.


Belinda said...

A world of universal welcome is a wonderful thing to wish for.

I'm glad your office is little forerunner of that.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

It is too true - when you don't even have to think about it, then true belonging has happened. We have such a long way to go but it is good to know that there is beacon of hope.

Hope you and Joe are staying cool in this heat!

Just Jess for now said...

Very cool! :)

ms k said...

despite the ADA here in the US, i found myself headlong against a massive FAIL this past weekend.

i have a service dog, a medical alert dog. i had to be in the ER because i had (again) an allergic reaction to my insulin. (yeah, THAT'S a fun allergy when you're a diabetic.)

the ER denied me my dog. i had to argue the ADA with 3 security guards, the medical staff refused her being with me for 4 hours, and when a bristly older RN finally said "get that woman's dog back here RIGHT NOW" people leaped to do her bidding.

shadow was frantic, and has not let me out of her sight since, not even to let me be in the bathroom. if she isnt with me, she's sitting in a doorway making sure i can NOT go out without her knowing.

it does my heart good to see that someone else IS being accomadated easily and swiftly, that things are being done so that your workspace becomes more welcoming to you.

thank you. i needed to hear this today. :)

Lillytigere said...

Ms K

(Not to steal your thread, Dave but this is important to me.)

I hope that you will write or call the hospital and tell them what you experienced. Including that someone finally knew what was right and and Shadow was returned to you. That is unacceptable. I am a service dog trainer and I have a service dog myself. I've had to do the same. I'm not talking about telling anyone off or causing issues just pointing out to someone who can make the change that they need too
Much Luck to you and Shadow

Thanks Dave for indulging me!! I think its awesome that your office mates get it. PS you should get a sign that says Dave's parking! I have a similar sign to park my scooter

Dave Hingsburger said...

lillytigere, comments are about conversation. I welcome your discussion and support of someone else here. That's what I hope happens ... so never fear ...

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